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post #1 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Do good cables make an audible difference in sound?

On another site this was presented as a poll.

The results came back:

528 to 24 that cables make an audible difference.

Test results were submitted, among them this:

Loudspeakers: Effects of amplifiers and cables


Latter in the thread it was noted that here at AVS the results of such a poll would likely be reversed.

Why is that?

From the link above, it seems to support the idea that cable do make a difference. Why no agreement across the audio enthusiast world?

These measurements seem to suggest cables matter.
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post #2 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 08:11 AM
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Oh my!!!

Here we go again!

IMHO... read the responses, consider the polls/opinions and test for yourself.

The question has been discussed/debated/argued/"proven"/"tested"/measured and everything else to try to convert everyone to one side or the other.

Buy what you think is best for YOUR system and enjoy.

I personally don't care how much or how little anyone invests in wires/cables.
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post #3 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Oh my!!!



Buy what you think is best for YOUR system and enjoy.
I like this response a lot.

The purpose for my post/thread is because I don't believe in the magic of wire but with such compelling arguments it's worth hearing a rebuttal to all the positive comments and submitted tests.

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post #4 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 08:28 AM
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Oh no !

This may be one of the most pointlessly contested items on the internet. I'm a ham, so we deal with frequencies way higher than audio.

I believe in "heater" rated zip cord, it is thicker and has nicer copper. You don' t need the massive stuff.

Wiring becomes problematic around 800 mhz, not 18,000 hz. Your hearing, your room acoustics, and the quality of the recording played back will have a greater effect on your net sound than wires. If your system and the specially built room for it cost more than most good Italian sports cars, then I may be wrong, but those with less than ideal installs (everyone else) won't notice. I'd spend the money on better speakers.

Still there is a limited market for $10,000 inteconnects for the high end home theater guy.

Some folks use coax radio cable for a speaker. No one is getting hurt. If you do a car stereo install, a lot of times the provided wire is trash, but beyond that, heater rated zip cord at the hardware store is a good bet. I have some of the small Monster Cable (it was on sale) and it looks just like my Ace hardware heater cord.

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post #5 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 08:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post
On another site this was presented as a poll.

The results came back:

528 to 24 that cables make an audible difference.

Test results were submitted, among them this:

Loudspeakers: Effects of amplifiers and cables


Latter in the thread it was noted that here at AVS the results of such a poll would likely be reversed.

Why is that?
Reliable science versus public opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post
From the link above, it seems to support the idea that cable do make a difference. Why no agreement across the audio enthusiast world?
Reliable science versus public opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post
These measurements seem to suggest cables matter.
Cables matter. Their length is all-important. Make them a little shorter than the distance between the components and see what happens!

The tests share a number of serious problems. They are test equipment tests, not reliable listening tests. Such listening evaluations that are mentioined seem to lack any bias controls. They involved things like 150 foot long (50 meter) speaker cables which are not exactly common in listening rooms.

It's no trick to show measured test results that could raise the hair on the back of many people's necks, and subsequently prove that they hear no difference in a proper listening test.
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post #6 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 08:40 AM
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Yes, No, Maybe...

or

No, Yes, Possibly...

A bad piece of 24g speaker wire may sound different than a good piece of 12g speaker wire. This may be due to the type of wire, the type of insulation, the type of shielding, RF interference, and a bunch of other stuff that may OR may not have any audible affects.

However, if a straightened out metal coat hanger can carry an audible signal, then pretty much anything can.

Better is in the eye of the beholder, and as the old adage goes, "A fool and his money are soon parted".
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post #7 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post


Cables matter. Their length is all-important. Make them a little shorter than the distance between the components and see what happens!
lol

I expected a little more detail from you in refuting the submitted test results though.
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post #8 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 08:58 AM
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The purpose for my post/thread is because I don't believe in the magic of wire but with such compelling arguments it's worth hearing a rebuttal to all the positive comments and submitted tests.

Points for honesty. Most trolls don't admit they're trolling.

Go to a forum for evangelical Christians, and ask their opinion on evolution. The results won't surprise you.

As for that "study," (actually a tendentious report about a study), I see a lot of handwaving. I don't see a lot of objective listening tests, nor do I see any measurements that we can map to known audibility thresholds.
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post #9 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post
Latter in the thread it was noted that here at AVS the results of such a poll would likely be reversed.

Why is that?

From the link above, it seems to support the idea that cable do make a difference. Why no agreement across the audio enthusiast world?
Right answer is, pick the forum that you feel the best with and "marry" it.
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post #10 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post
The purpose for my post/thread is because I don't believe in the magic of wire but with such compelling arguments it's worth hearing a rebuttal to all the positive comments and submitted tests.

Points for honesty. Most trolls don't admit they're trolling.
Please leave this thread or stop antagonizing.

Thanks

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post #11 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by spkr View Post
Right answer is, pick the forum that you feel the best with and "marry" it.
i could not disagree more.

intellectual curiosity is what has always propelled the self and society

you only unite behind a flag when threatened for self preservation or you do you and your an injustice.

a bit philosophical but your reply inspired it
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post #12 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 09:39 AM
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I have been into the High End audio for awhile, so I say to a point cables make a difference, how much is debateable, and with some of the newer formats of audio encoding the differences are likely less..
So this question will probably go on forever without a firm conclusion!!
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post #13 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
The tests share a number of serious problems. They are test equipment tests, not reliable listening tests. Such listening evaluations that are mentioined seem to lack any bias controls. They involved things like 150 foot long (50 meter) speaker cables which are not exactly common in listening rooms.

It's no trick to show measured test results that could raise the hair on the back of many people's necks, and subsequently prove that they hear no difference in a proper listening test.
thanks

but if they measure different on test equipment can't we look further to see how this translates?

is that not reasonable?

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post #14 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 09:42 AM
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Please provide your technical analysis, measurements and personal opinions of the wires/cables YOU have tested.

Do you have wires/cables you are considering for purchase or just stirring the pot?

With all of the numerous forums on the net and the numerous threads here at AVS on this subject, you should be able to separate the wheat from the chaff to make an informed purchasing decision/choice.

Or... just go on "faith" and use/purchase what everyone says is best and avoid what everyone says measures/sounds bad.
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post #15 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Do you have wires/cables you are considering for purchase or just stirring the pot?

With all of the numerous forums on the net and the numerous threads here at AVS on this subject, you should be able to separate the wheat from the chaff to make an informed purchasing decision/choice.
But some people have too much free time on their hands.
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post #16 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 09:48 AM
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All that matters is that you select the proper gauge based on the distance of your run.

This is an excellent article, most of which you can skip. Just look at "Table 1. Recommended Cable Distances vs Gauge".

Pick the proper gauge and you'll be set. No need to fall for the marketing hokum from speaker wire snake oil salesmen.
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post #17 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 09:51 AM
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To the OP - there are hundreds of threads on this and other forums about wire and cables. You can cut to the chase and save yourself a lot of time by reading through those. Nothing has changed recently that warrants yet another one of these threads.
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post #18 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Please provide your technical analysis, measurements and personal opinions of the wires/cables YOU have tested.

Do you have wires/cables you are considering for purchase or just stirring the pot?

With all of the numerous forums on the net and the numerous threads here at AVS on this subject, you should be able to separate the wheat from the chaff to make an informed purchasing decision/choice.

Or... just go on "faith" and use/purchase what everyone says is best and avoid what everyone says measures/sounds bad.
Speaking strictly for myself, I listen to music. That's it.

I have never tested anything in audio nor ever intend to. I guess that's why I like these threads. I use the work done by other to optimize my choices in audio.

DEmanding tests and the like from a poster simply sharing his opinion is a bit aggressive, no?

and another thing, I hear this generic mantra that all wires are created equal but when you get upclose it changes. Speaker wire gauge becomes important depending on the run, XLR connectors are not all the same, RCA basically sucks as a inter connector, shielding and insulation...

seems to me the simple "all wires are the same" mantra can seriously mislead

I'd like to see a simple user guide (for wires) somewhere that one could reference for his own circumstance. seems to me the connectors are forgotten about in the conversation also

thoughts?

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post #19 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 09:54 AM
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If cables have certain electrical characteristics, such as significant capacitance or inductance they can effect the frequency response. I would call those bad cables, but I don't have reason to believe it's a common issue. The primary characteristic of cables is resistance, and that should not effect the sound except to create a voltage drop. The voltage drop would effect the signal uniformly.

Perhaps better shielding on some cables helps? I am not sure on that one.

For speaker cables, make sure the gauge is sufficient, or it could effect the frequency response.

Otherwise I don't know why cables would otherwise make a difference in sound. I guess it's a matter of whether you believe the scientists/engineers or the audio press. As some people have said, do what makes you happy and doesn't break the bank. The endless debates on such things seem to accomplish nothing except to create drama where none is needed. It's just audio!
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post #20 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by spkr View Post
But some people have too much free time on their hands.
so i am supposed to apologize for having put myself in a position of having lots of free time?

lol

dude, you should be so lucky (it's not really luck)

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post #21 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 10:45 AM
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Let's cut to the chase...

Are there specific speaker wires or audio cables that you are considering for purchase? If so, provide the info and the people with personal experience that own those products can provide input. Otherwise... this is a waste of time and will only generate (more) animosity.
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post #22 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Let's cut to the chase...

Are there specific speaker wires or audio cables that you are considering for purchase? If so, provide the info and the people with personal experience that own those products can provide input. Otherwise... this is a waste of time and will only generate (more) animosity.
i have some audioquest and Kimber in my cart for about a month now but continue to vacillate. Nothing at all to do with this thread.

From reading here and being who I am I have never spent money on cables. I decided to get some just for visual symmetry and neatness in my own minds eye.

Then recently I started reading the "fine print" (as I speak to above) Then I watch a video on Audioholics who also say all wires are the same but avoid so and so and this and that is better! (fine print)

anyway, i have no arterial motive for starting the thread, just some time an curiosity

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post #23 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 11:02 AM
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Do wires affect the sound of audio? Basically, no. Do audiophiles hear differences in audio due to wires? Basically, yes. If those audiophiles engaged in bias controlled listening tests those differences would disappear. Hearing bias is amazingly strong.
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To the topic of listening tests, who here has performed one and is willing to document the protocol and results? I think we would all learn a lot from such work. Who wants to go first?
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post #25 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post
I decided to get some just for visual symmetry and neatness in my own minds eye.
That'a a valid enough reason. I do admit that high end cables and interconnects look really nice. They don't make a damn bit of difference to the audio, but they sure to make the whole setup look good.

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post #26 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 11:06 AM
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The devil is in the details!

It's not that difficult at all to demonstrate differences in electrical performance between cables. You need to understand / analyze the magnitude of the result. In many cases it's negligible in relation to the reproduced audio.
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post #27 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 11:10 AM
 
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Quote:
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Otherwise I don't know why cables would otherwise make a difference in sound. I guess it's a matter of whether you believe the scientists/engineers or the audio press.
Thanks for the post. The article that OP is asking for comment on though is from EETimes which is the a technical journal (now online) for engineers as the name implies. It is not audio press. Here are the credentials of the people who wrote that article:

----------

About the Authors
Philip Newell is an international consultant on acoustic design, and former technical director of Virgin Records. He has over 30 years experience in the recording industry and has been involved in the design of over 200 studios, including the famous Manor and Townhouse Studios. He is also author of Project Studios, Recording Spaces and Studio Monitoring Design, all published by Focal Press.

Keith Holland, PhD in Acoustics, is a member of the Institute of Acoustics and a lecturer in electro-acoustics at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, University of Southampton.

Printed with permission from Focal Press, a division of Elsevier. Copyright 2007. "Loudspeakers: For Music Recording and Reproduction" by Philip Newell and Keith Holland. For more information about this title, please visit www.focalpress.com.

-------------------

Personally I wouldn't call them "electrical engineers" but they are not the typical audio press either.

I have not read their article in detail so would appreciate those who have outlining what they are saying in detail and why that is incorrect.
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post #28 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 11:14 AM
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Fwiw, the best stereo system I have heard in a home used monoprice speaker cables and I believe monoprice interconnects. It bested another system that had very expensive cables with cable elevators etc. go figure.
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post #29 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 11:31 AM
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Oh and keep this in mind too:

Most of us know that a 25 foot 24ga speaker wire will not sound as good as a 14ga 25 foot speaker wire (at 8 ohms). - No argument there.

But does a 6 foot $4000 Audioquest speaker wire sound any different than a 6 foot extension cord with the ends cut off? Does it show any measurable differences at audio frequencies in a typical listening environment?

Are they testing generic wire against audiophile wire or just reporting on the overall deficiencies of all wire?

In glancing through the article I see some tests of RFI performance with speaker wire. Well, what is the RFI source? Because most people don't have high power RF sources near their system location. If you do, then shielded speaker wires may be needed, but this is an exception and should not be the general rule of thumb - just one example.

So just tread carefully before jumping to conclusions based on this article. Yes, it does seem to be from respectable sources, not some audiophile rag, so you need to fully understand the data being presented as it is complex.
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post #30 of 604 Old 07-22-2014, 11:32 AM
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Fwiw, the best stereo system I have heard in a home used monoprice speaker cables and I believe monoprice interconnects. It bested another system that had very expensive cables with cable elevators etc. go figure.

That suggests very strongly that the person with Monoprice knew more about how to assemble a good system than the person who bought the cable elevators. It would be wrong to extrapolate from this single example, however.

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